Westchester County Earned Sick Leave Law Begins This Week
Last fall, the Westchester County, New York legislature passed an Earned Sick Leave Law which will go into effect on April 10, 2019 – 180 days after it was signed into law. Employees in Westchester County will now begin accruing sick time at the start of employment or 90 days after the law goes into effect, whichever is later.
The new law is similar to New York City’s Paid Safe and Sick Leave Law, in its original form; so far, the Westchester County law does not carry provision for time off under “safe leave.” What the law does require is that eligible employees – all full-time and part-time employees who work more than 80 hours per year in Westchester County – be provided with paid leave for their own medical needs, or medical needs of a family member. Family members include an employee’s child, spouse, domestic partner, parent, sibling, grandchild or grandparent; and the child or parent of an employee’s spouse, domestic partner or household member. Permissible leave requests will include physical illness, injury, or health condition; need for medical diagnosis and care; or treatment of such illnesses, injuries, or conditions; or the need for preventative medical care; among other reasons.
Employees are eligible to earn sick leave at a rate of one hour for every 30 hours worked, up to a maximum of 40 hours per calendar year. In addition, employees must be permitted to carry over available but unused sick leave for immediate use in the following year, though the total leave for the year is still capped at 40 hours. There is no requirement that earned, but unused, sick time be paid out to the employee when their employment terminates. For employers with five or more employees working in Westchester County, this leave must be paid at the employee’s normal rate of pay. Those employers with fewer than five employees need only provide unpaid leave. Special rules apply for domestic workers.
As part of this new mandate, employers in Westchester County must document the hours worked and earned sick time accrued and taken by employees for a period of three years. Employers will also be required to provide employees with written notice of how this new law applies to them, and display a notice of rights poster within 90 days of the effective date (June 28, 2019). Employers are encouraged to review their time off policies and be prepared to administer this new law alongside other leave programs such as Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and New York State Paid Family Leave (PFL), when applicable.
Should you have any questions on this topic, reach out to Rose & Kiernan, Inc. today.
This summary is provided to you for general informational purposes only, does not include references to other legal resources (e.g., supporting regulations, formal or informal opinions) unless specifically noted and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinion on any specific facts or circumstances. Please seek qualified and appropriate counsel for further information and/or advice regarding the application of the topics discussed herein to your employee benefit plans.